How To Choose The Right Tactical Headlamp

Whether you are finishing up a hike after dusk or cooking a meal at your campsite, having enough light to see without occupying both hands is certainly a luxury, which is why headlamps were created, to begin with. Headlamps even come in handy at home where holding a flashlight could pose as an inconvenience.

Just like any piece of gear or equipment, headlamps have evolved over the years. Tactical headlamps, to be more specific, have surged in popularity and are more durable, brighter lightweight, and more energy-efficient than normal headlamps. Point being, you cannot go wrong with a tactical headlamp. Now that you’ve decided to add a tactical headlamp to your arsenal, the next step is deciding which one.

What Do You Need The Tactical Headlamp For?

To determine which tactical headlamp is best for you, first consider what you will be using the headlamp for. This initial usage will give you a better idea of how technical the tactical headlamp needs to be. If you plan to use it for hiking or camping, you certainly don’t need the most expensive headlamps. However, if you are using your headlamp for outdoor adventures such as biking, climbing, running, caving, or any other activities where you are in the dark quite often, you may want to consider investing in a tactical headlamp with a higher lumen count and an adjustable beam.

Tactical Headlamp Beams

The beam of a tactical headlamp is essential. Compared to a normal headlamp, tactical headlamps typically have stronger beams and technical abilities. The beam of your headlamp can make or break your experience, so make sure to choose the right tactical headlamp. Let's take a look at the most common tactical headlamp beams.

Spot Beam

Tactical headlamps with a spot beam will provide a narrow, focused beam of light. These are ideal if you are looking for a tactical headlamp that will work for seeing in the dark for long-distances, for example, following a trail or biking in the dark.

Flood Beam

Most tactical headlamps will have a flood beam which provides a wide beam of light. Flood beams are great for reading a book in the dark, general tasks around the campsite, or tasks that require working up close, like working on a vehicle.

Zoomable Beam

If you are looking for a tactical headlamp that can be used for a variety of activities, whether outdoor adventures or general tasks around the house, look for one that offers an adjustable, or zoomable, beam. Tactical headlamps with this feature are the most versatile and function as a spotlight to focus light directly or adjust it to create a flood light that covers a wide area.

COB Halo Beam

COB Halo beam are becoming more and more popular among tactical flashlights and headlamps. COB Halo LEDs provide a powerful white flood light. This beam is most convenient for general tasks where direct, focused light is not needed.

Tactical Headlamp Beam Brightness and Distance

Along with the different beam types, tactical headlamps also have varying brightness levels. Both flashlights and headlamps brightness is measured by lumens, the higher the lumen count, the stronger the beam of light. Additionally, different brightness settings have different beam distances. It is essential to understand that the lumens relate to the brightness of a tactical headlamp whereas the distance relates to how far a headlamp can project usable light. More advanced headlamps will have multiple modes so you can adjust your beam to fit your activity or accommodate your needs. Here are some brightness levels to look out for when buying a tactical headlamp.

  • HIGH. When you need a lot of light, HIGH is generally a tactical headlamp’s maximum lumen output. Look for headlamps that have a maximum lumen output higher than 850 and a beam distance higher than 200m to ensure you have enough lighting for your activities.
  • LOW. All tactical headlamps typically have a standard, or low, mode that can be used for general tasks around the house or campsite or for easy nighttime walks. Low settings on a quality tactical headlamp should produce no less than 250 lumens. Most low settings will have a beam distance of about 100m.
  • STROBE. Many tactical flashlights have strobe modes, but not all tactical headlamps do. Strobe modes can be used for emergencies, signaling, disorienting, or for easy visibility.

  • Remember, tactical headlamps with a higher lumen output will use more energy at a faster rate compared to a headlamp with a lower lumen count. If you are planning on using your headlamp for hours on end, it may be wise to keep the headlamp in a LOW setting whenever possible. Or, of course, you could bring backup batteries or a means of charging.

    Tactical Headlamp Battery Features

    An important consideration when choosing a headlamp is whether to get a rechargeable or battery powered tactical headlamp. Choosing one of these features relies heavily on the activities you plan on using a headlamp for. Keep in mind that there aren’t power sources on hikes and other outdoor adventures. For an extended backcountry trip, a battery-powered tactical headlamp may be the most reliable option. However, if you plan to use your headlamp for tasks or general use, a rechargeable tactical headlamp may be the way to go.

    If you are having a tough time deciding between a battery-operated or rechargeable tactical headlamp, you can get the best of both worlds by operating your headlamp with rechargeable batteries. In fact, some tactical headlamps will include powerful Li-ion batteries and a charge.

    Other Tactical Headlamp Features To Consider

    When you are searching for a tactical headlamp there are multiple features that will influence your purchase based on the activities, tasks, and needs you plan on using it for. Below are a few additional features to look out for when looking for a tactical headlamp.

  • 90 degree tilt. Some tactical headlamps will have a tilt option which allows you to tilt the headlamp to meet your needs. Others are set in place and can be inconvenient for specific tasks. And can put a lot of strain on your neck.
  • Water-Resistant. If you plan on using your tactical headlamp in the rain or near water sources, opting for a water-resistant headlamp is important. A headlamp water resistant is determined by an IPX rating. For best results, look for a headlamp with an IPX6 water resistance or higher. This will ensure they can stand up to rain and are submersible to a certain level.
  • Impact-Resistant. Plan on using your headlamp in adverse conditions? Make sure to look for an impact-resistant headlamp! To ensure your tactical headlamp will be able to withstand drops, dings, and dents, search for those that have an impact resistance of 1m or higher.

  • In the end, tactical headlamps are becoming an essential tool for outdoor adventures or even tasks around the house. For that reason, you should get a tactical headlamp that can accommodate all of your needs without breaking the bank — the HX-1 Tactical Headlamp is a perfect choice.

    Order the HX-1 Tactical Headlamp From Centaur Ridge

    Centaur Ridge’s HX-1 Tactical Headlamp is one of the toughest, lightweight, comfortable, versatile, and most affordable tactical headlamps available. Made with aircraft-grade aluminum, this headlamp is designed to last. This headlamp has four light modes (HIGH, LOW, STROBE, and COB HALO LED), an adjustable focus, 90-degree rotation, and its impact- and water-resistant! What’s more, it comes with two Li-ion batteries and a charger. This is one of the best headlamps you will own. Don’t believe us? Try the Centaur Ridge HX-1 Tactical Headlamp for 30 days, and if you aren’t completely satisfied you can get your money back, no questions asked.

    To learn more about Centaur Ridge’s HX-1 Tactical Headlamp, visit or contact our tactical lighting experts!